PhD projects

in Innovation Management

Innovation Management (IM) involves all the actions needed to generate innovative ideas and turn them into attractive new products, services, and business models. Today’s business credo mandates more innovations, and those innovations become substantially more complex, multi-dimensional and risky. At RSM we study the latest developments in innovation and we investigate how to manage them successfully in practice by linking the latest management theories to business practice.

We are particularly interested in working with PhD students on the following topics:

Idea management: How to cultivate and select the best ideas? Over and over again: Companies increasingly use idea management programs or crowdsourcing platforms to collect as many ideas as possible from their employees or from people outside of the organisation. But having many ideas does mean that one has — or is able to recognise — high quality ideas. Another challenge is that the motivation of people to participate in idea management programs often declines over time. As a result, a firm’s innovation pipeline might dry up and with that the opportunities to successfully compete. Therefore, the question is how the quality of idea submissions can be enhanced, how idea evaluation and selection decisions can be improved, and how sustained levels of creativity can be encouraged.

Personality change and innovation: We live in an age in which people plan, pursue, and experience individual changes that affect career and life trajectories. People improve their educational credentials, change residences, move jobs, switch nationalities, and undergo gender reassignment. All of this is familiar to management researchers. But personality change is only recently emerging in the organisational behavior and management research landscape despite extensive research evidence, practitioner attention and mass-media interest. Management research generally emphasises the stability of personality structures tends to underestimate the possibility that personality can change. I want to build consensus on the relevance of personality change for research in organisational behavior and manager, with a specific focus on innovation. Research questions of interest include: Do people change their personality after a major change in work activities is introduced? How does the use of innovation shape or change psychological variables related to the innovation domain (e.g. openness to experience)? Specifically, we are interested in creating an experimental design in order to assess whether and how personality can change and what are its organisational consequences.

Innovation Strategy: Organisations are in a constant hunt for the next blockbuster design, product, or service to gain or sustain their competitive edge. However, innovation management is not about an endless chase for any creative idea. It requires developing an innovation strategy to direct and achieve innovation-related goals since organisational resources are limited. Innovation strategy helps organisations sense the needs and changes in the business landscape, and transform their organisations by fostering creative ideas and further into product/service and process development implementing these ideas. This PhD project focuses on how and why organisations develop and execute strategies to innovate. It also highlights sustainability as a special topic of attention. This is because organisations can no longer turn a blind eye to the societal and environmental challenges the world faces: Waves of pandemics, global warming, pollution, inequality, and ongoing discrimination. We know much less about how organisations can envision, implement, change and govern an innovation strategy — be it via deliberate or emergent — to address societal and environmental challenges. Hence, we welcome candidates motivated to investigate the dual goal of achieving sustainability and competitive advantage as a critical and urgent research direction within the innovation strategy field.